Working Group on Human Rights and Conflict Transformation

The Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP) is an OSCE-wide NGO-network mainly consisting of human rights (and increasingly peacebuilding) organizations. Many CSP members have worked in conflict-affected areas of the OSCE region for many years, trying to safeguard and promote the Helsinki Principles as well as contribute to the implementation and respect of OSCE Human Dimension commitments (i.e. commitments on the respect of fundamental freedoms and human rights, democratic principles as well as the rule of law).

Many civil society actors active in conflict-affected areas very much believe in the OSCE’s “comprehensive security approach” where the human dimension is equally as important as the political-military and economic-environmental dimensions (similar to the UN framework with the three complimentary pillars of peace and security, human rights and development). In reality, however, this approach merely remains of declaratory nature in the OSCE conflict work, as “hard security” (i.e. political-military dimension) concerns and narrow focus on (often intransparent) high-level (“Track 1”) political negotiations dominate OSCE actions and discussions, leaving civil society actors and whole societies (particularly also women and youth) excluded, disillusioned, suspicious and frustrated.

This CSP Working Group on Human Rights and Conflict Transformation thus aims at trying to shift from theory to practice and help untap the OSCE (and UN)’s great deal of potential when it comes to peacebuilding and conflict-related roles fulfilled by civil society actors, in particular human rights advocates and peacebuilders, along the conflict cycle – from conflict prevention/ Early Warning Early Response, to conflict resolution/ transformation all the way to post-conflict rehabilitation. Current policy developments, for example, in the frameworks of the United Nations and World Bank, seem to provide an ideal window of opportunity for improved civil society inclusion and cooperation, including through (bottom-up) NGO-networks such as the CSP.

This CSP Working Group thus has the aim to:

  • Promote the human dimension as an essential prerequisite for sustainable peace;
  • Protect and expand civil society engagement along the conflict cycle in a meaningful way;
  • Create space for dialogue among civil society actors and other relevant stakeholders (e.g. from the OSCE and UN, academia) to exchange on contextual experiences, identify common human rights/ peacebuilding challenges, derive common lessons learned as well as receive inputs/ ideas from other conflict-affected contexts and/ or perspectives;
  • Develop individual and/ or organizational capacities and building synergies of civil society actors in conflict-affected areas working along the conflict cycle;
  • Connect, establish communication and regular interaction/ cooperation between civil society actors and relevant stakeholders (e.g. from the OSCE and UN structures);
  • Enhance OSCE and UN cooperation with regards to the latest policy developments related to the importance of human rights and civil society engagement for peacebuilding and sustainable peace – both on the local and multilateral levels.

CSP Working Group members conduct various activities based on their individual and organizational expertise, needs as well as in dialogue with other relevant stakeholders (e.g. from the OSCE and the UN). The activities are organized according to thematic issues and/ or regional relevance. The activities of the CSP Working Group on Human Rights and Conflict Transformation are coordinated within the group as well with the other operating Working Groups within the Civic Solidarity Platform.

For further information and/ or to get in touch with this CSP Working Group, please contact the CSP Secretariat.